Category Archives: Current Events

My first book review! SQL Server 2014 with PowerShell v5 Cookbook

Has been a very busy year for me, haven’t posted lately, but was very excited to share this.

I’ve had the opportunity to be a technical reviewer for three PowerShell books this year!

One that I’ve really enjoyed reviewing has just been released, and the publisher Packt is offering an end of year sale for $5 eBook editions.

Donabel Santos ( & @sqlbelle) is a wonderful blogger, author, trainer, and Microsoft MVP. This is her second PowerShell cookbook for SQL, and it’s an incredibly useful resource for learning the practical details of PowerShell, both in general and when working with SQL Server. All her examples come with code samples so you can leverage her scripts to get productive right away.

You can check out the book on the Packt website. It’s only $5 for a great PowerShell & SQL eBook, or $30 for the eBook and print version. It’s a phenomenal resource, and a great deal for DBAs looking to take the plunge into PowerShell, and DBAs familiar with PowerShell ready to expand their knowledge about all that’s possible with PowerShell in SQL.

Please let me know if you found her book useful, and have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and enjoyable holiday season. 🙂



Helping out at TechEd 2014 in Houston

I am privileged to be a member of the fifty or so Microsoft Certified Trainers who are volunteering their time this week with the Hands On Labs here at TechEd 2014 in Houston. There are 300 general use machines plus 400 machines dedicated to Instructor Led Labs.

Look at my computer lab! 🙂

Hands On Labs area at TechEd 2014
Hands On Labs area at TechEd 2014 (click to enlarge)

There are over 150 different labs available at the conference, all created and hosted by HynesITe. They do this with over 70 host servers, many with half a TERABYTE of RAM, all from a single colocation facility in Tampa, Florida. The labs are made up of one to several  virtual machines that are spun up and ready for the attendees when they sit down to learn.

I asked a ton of questions, and learned that while Microsoft is their biggest client, it’s just one of many. They host around ten thousand different labs for customers all over the world.

They use Hyper-V on Windows Server 2012 R2, and I suspect they are the the largest user of Hyper-V in terms of scope and scale.

I find the process and infrastructure behind supporting so many  virtual labs fascinating, and will research the topic further. A very big thanks to the HOL team for talking with me and sharing their knowledge.

Bi-Annual blog post

Yes, six months just went by.

Since I’ve last posted:

My youngest  is walking, and also talking (in his own language, English will come soon I’m sure.)

I’ve assisted a small handful of clients and their customers with their database, application and infrastructure needs.

Taught SQL querying and administration classes onsite around Florida.

Delivered a custom PowerShell Module and PowerGUI interface to a client for testing.

Next week will deliver a 5 day class on using SQL 2012 SSIS to populate a data warehouse.

Then I’m off to Houston to learn and to volunteer along with the other MCTs there to help deliver hands on labs to thousands of TechEd attendees.

Talk to you again in six months (or less, hopefully.)

Back to Work, and ain’t it Great?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand a month goes by.  🙂

PASS Summit 2013 was a great experience, made several contacts, a few friends, and learned a lot about SQL, and lot more about this I.T. industry we are in. It’s a big place, and the rules are continually changing.  

It was a pleasure to volunteer as an MCT Ambassador with the other MCTs and the Microsoft folks, helping people prepare for and take their certification exams. I was lucky to witness several very smart (and nervous) people taking the MCM SQL Exams before the program is retired at the end of the year. Talking to ‘potential masters’ during their breaks was inspiring.

One takeaway from the conference for me was the appreciation for the community, and the desire to learn how to give back. What do I have to offer to the SQL community and the I.T. community, both at large and in my area? There’s so many brilliant people communicating so effectively,  I wonder where I fit in, how can I help best? 

So while I’m pondering, I’m working too. As a technology geek,  I’m really enjoying being a consultant right now. I have a few projects taking turns holding my focus, each interesting and challenging. Some of the highlights are:

  • Creating PowerShell 3 modules.
  • Working with some amazing SQL monitoring tools.
  • Creating a simple web service with .Net 4.5 and the REST API Framework.
  • New custom SQL training coming up.

So work is varied, interesting and challenging, and only occasionally overwhelming. I work from home more often than not, which has its own challenges without a doubt. But I’m thankful to be close to my family, and get a few moments with my wife,  and my 5 year and (newly) 1 year old boys throughout the day. So though life is often hectic, it is good. And that’s great. 🙂

What I’ve been up to

Haven’t posted in a while. Been working on a few different projects, taking care of clients, staying busy.

I’ve been asked by some SQL students to post sites with useful SQL scripts I’ve found. There have been so many over the years.. but I’ve started my Useful SQL Scripts page, and will add to it as I can.

Playing around with SQL Azure . Getting my head around working with a database that I’ll never touch… While many people won’t want to give up control of their databases, I see possibilities for syncing SQL data between a SQL Azure instance and your local SQL 2012 database.

Also wanted to learn something outside the SQL Server realm. Been creating some very basic apps using the Sencha Touch 2 javascript/css framework. This lets you create cross platform phone apps, which are really just clever javascript websites that work and display on any phone’s web browser, or can be deployed as iPhone or Android apps.

Still doing a few days of training a month, while supporting client projects, and still managing to find some family time for a trip to three parks at Disney World last week. 🙂

Life is good. Busy and crazy, but good.

Too busy to blog


Despite my best intentions, I haven’t kept up with blogging. The reason why is actually good news… I’ve been crazy busy. Since I’ve last blogged I have:

  • Trained a few SQL classes (MOC 6232B and 2778A, 70-432 and 70-433 test prep.)
  • Built my first WCF Restful web service prototype for a long time client.
  • Built customized SQL reports for an ASP.NET web application.
  • Entered a consulting engagement with a client who upgraded from SQL 2000 to 2008 R2 and needs to learn and apply new features to their 24/7 web application database.
  • Joined a team of consultant developers on a new ASP.NET / Ajax custom project.
  • Created a wordpress blog for a local business and trained the client how to maintain it on their own.
  • Continued to work in ongoing projects involving SSIS, Hyper-V, and general windows and SQL administration.
Also, in all of my free time, I’m investigating the latest SQL Server 2012 CTP, preparing for the new SQL goodness from Microsoft.
Considering how hard many people have it out there in this economy, I feel very lucky and blessed to be in the I.T. consulting industry. It seems like businesses, still timid from the sting of the recession, are starting to invest in their I.T. again.
Anyone else out there agree? What’s your story?

SQL cluster on the cheap with Hyper-V and iSCSI

Speaking on how to set up SQL clustering in a virtual environment, for development and testing. Discuss options for production deployment.
Now, how to compress 9 hours of setup into a session…
Expect some smoke and mirrors along with some neat technology.

Does anyone have some SSDs I can borrow? 🙂

July 23rd

Tentative outline:

  • Setup Hyper-V Host
  • Install two virtual networks (lan,iscsi)
  • Create OS template
  • Deploy and install 3 servers
  • Configure iSCSI storage and targets
  • Configure Windows Cluster
  • Install SQL Node 1
  • Add SQL Node 2
  • Test
  • Discuss production deployment options
  • Q & A

Catching up on blogging, new opportunities

So today I’m catching up after a year of no posts. While I can see the value in blogging, I’ve just had too many distractions to count. Recent events have convinced me it’s important to start up again.

I recently attended the first PASS SQL Rally in Orlando, had a great time, met good people, and learned a TON. After learning so much from the fine folks that volunteered their time and knowledge to the SQL community (THANKS GUYS!), I think I’m finally starting to get it… blogging and speaking and participating in the community gives one back way more than it costs, in terms of learning, in recognition and connections, and in challenging opportunity.

I’ve been invited to submit a topic for the South Florida IT Camp Saturday event in Fort Lauderdale July 23rd. Choosing a topic has been difficult. While I focus on SQL Server training and consulting, I have skill and interests in many technologies. Here are the coolest technologies on my radar:

  • Hyper-V and virtualization : Have set up two production installations of Hyper-V for clients, creating tons of value and flexibility at low cost. I see tremendous potential in virtualization for low cost training scenarios, high availability and redundancy.
  • Cloud computing technologies like Azure : Leveraging my SQL knowledge into the SQL Azure space seems very exciting, if only I could find a good learning project. 🙂
  • Sharepoint 2010 / Project 2010 / Team Foundation Server 2010 : I recently set up and configured an installation in a virtual environment for a client who is an accomplished speaker and trainer in project management tools and techniques. The potential for these tools is enormous for distributed development teams with an existing investment in Sharepoint.
  • SQL Server 201(?) : Denali has some interesting features, seen some previews of the SQL Server Development Tools (Juneau) and am eager to see more.

In the coming months I will explore and blog on these technologies if there’s any interest out there. 🙂

There are more great technologies out there too.. all changing the game and making everything we know obsolete. I’m a journeyman I.T. consultant, with a broad knowledge in development and administration. The challenge for me is choosing the most promising set of complementary technologies and focusing on excellence with a few rather than familiarity with many.

So with these thoughts in mind I’ll submit my topic for IT Saturday, and keep you posted.

If you have any thoughts on my technology interests, if you’re exploring these technologies now, or just want some free advice on SQL Server, post a comment or shoot me an email. Would love to hear from you.